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Wrestling / WCW
aka: World Championship Wrestling

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Where the Big Boys Played.
The iconic original WCW logo.
Click here to see WCW's 1999-2001 logo.

"Here we are 15 years later and I can honestly say that [WCW's closure in 2001] was the worst thing that ever happened in the history of wrestling."

World Championship Wrestling was an American Professional Wrestling company which, as Eric Bischoff famously put it, beat the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment) at their own game for 83 weeks. Naturally, this success didn't come right away.

Historically based out of Atlanta, it began as a regional NWA territory, first as Georgia Championship Wrestling and later Jim Crockett Promotions. From its inception, JCP had big names like Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, and Ricky Steamboat carrying the company, along with up-and-comers like Sting and Lex Luger. At this iteration, the company attempted to compete on a national level. Unfortunately, in spite of their TV deals and name recognition in the States, the company was very careless with money. In 1988, after a string of financial and creative mishaps, it was sold to cable TV pioneer Ted Turner and re-named World Championship Wrestling.

Its first flagship show was WCW Saturday Night, a continuation of the same Saturday night wrestling show that had emanated out of Atlanta since 1971. It was two hours long and had more than a few squash matches, just like every other show at the time. However, there were times where they'd let a young unknown get a shot at perennial world champion Flair and actually give him a run for his money. It also served as a springboard for wrestlers who would go on to achieve fame in later years, with Dustin Rhodes, Cactus Jack, and The Hollywood Blonds ("Stunning" Steve Austin and Brian Pillman) appearing for the first time on national television.

Saturday Night would eventually cede its flagship status to Nitro in 1995, a long-shot idea by Bischoff to compete with Raw in their own timeslot, in what would later become known as the Monday Night Wars. He had the perfect blueprint for a wrestling show: make sure there is variety, showcasing different styles of wrestling (often with interesting stipulations); Live TV in an age when viewers had their attention divided; and most importantly, have a mega-angle going on with the New World Order. Pro wrestling was forever changed by the nWo in some ways, with each show ending on a cliffhanger. Think WrestleMania hype, but weekly. Saturday Night would then decline in status to the C-show with the 1998 launch of Thunder, eventually being ended in 2000.

Nitro was seen as the superior product for years, until it hit a creative wall. Bischoff, as it was judged later, measured everything by the ratings, so when Raw eventually rebounded, he had no plan or faith in his own product. While Ring Oldies were given most of the screentime, up-and-comers like Chris Jericho, Diamond Dallas Page, Raven, and Booker T either 1) didn't get elevated like they should have, or 2) it was handled poorly and came about too late. The Cruiserweight Division went from being "the future of wrestling" (as Bischoff touted them as on his show) to being "vanilla midgets" who "couldn't draw"; the over-reliance on one storyline, with most of the babyfaces forming an nWo offshoot; and, most notorious of all, PPV-worthy events like Goldberg vs. Hulk Hogan being relegated to episodes of Nitro instead for the sake of winning the ratings war.

As quick as the rise of WCW to the top was between the debut of Nitro in 1995, the nWo's emergence at Bash at the Beach 1996, and the culmination of the Sting/nWo feud in 1997, so too was its fall from grace. The aforementioned over-reliance on the nWo started to grate viewers at a time where WWF rapidly catching up with its own Attitude Era, and talent like Sting, Nash, Hogan, and Goldberg became replaced in the public consciousness by the likes of The Rock, The Undertaker, Triple H and Steve Austin. The turning point came on January 4, 1999, where the infamous Fingerpoke Of Doom took place. In front of 40,000 fans at the Georgia Dome, Nash laid down for Hogan to reunite the nWo and put the Big Gold Belt back around the Hulkster's waist. To add insult to injury, Bischoff ordered commentator Tony Schiavone to spoil that night's (pre-taped) Raw and tell viewers not to switch channels to see Mick Foley finally win the WWF Championship, at which point half a million viewers did exactly that.

WCW never recovered from that night, and the following two years led to Bischoff chasing "quick fixes" to the ratings that never worked. By the end of 1999, Bischoff managed to snag controversial writer Vince Russo from WWF, who promptly started to institute his own "crash TV" style of presentation upon the product, which didn't work as well as it did in WWF. Over the next two years, questionable booking became incomprehensible – including infamous occasions where both Russo and actor David Arquette would both hold the world championship – and revenues and ratings declined. By 2000, with roster contracts ballooning, WCW was in a massive financial black hole, but there was one further road-bump that forced WCW off the road for good: AOL.

Ted Turner was a massive wrestling fan, and he saw WCW as the crown jewel of the TBS Superstation; he was more than willing to see his own company absorb the financial losses of WCW. But the AOL–Time Warner merger in 2000 saw Ted Kicked Upstairs, and the new accountants decided to rein in WCW's excesses. But it was too late to correct the nose-dive the product was in, and alongside a desire to cater to more "high-brow" tastes and despite Bischoff's best efforts, Nitro and Thunder were cancelled, effective April 1, 2001. With no TV time-slot and massive debts, WCW's assets were sold to Vince McMahon on March 23, 2001 for $2.5 million, a far cry from WCW making $500 million just two years prior. The name of WCW would live on for a few more months as part of the invasion storyline (with ECW joining Team WCW that summer), but the name of WCW would finally be put to rest at WWF's Survivor Series on November 18, 2001, with WWF reigning supreme.

The downfall of WCW (and also, for that matter, ECW) has been a mixed bag. In the aftermath of them going under, a whole host of new independent promotions raced to fill the void left by the organization, most notably TNA and Ring of Honor. But over the next two decades, no promotion could even come close to competing with WWE for the affection or attention of most wrestling fans, and WWE would go through its own rollercoaster of quality, albeit with none of the highest highs or the lowest lows that both companies experienced in the 1990s. The only wrestling promotion to arguably come close to going toe-to-toe with WWE like WCW did since has been All Elite Wrestling, which launched in 2019 and has firmly rooted itself as a solid #2 promotion. WCW itself has become a cautionary tale of what happens in the industry when you fly too close to the sun, and most promotions since often look back to see what they can learn from WCW without replicating its mistakes.

By the time WCW disbanded, they recognized the following championships:

  • WCW World Heavyweight Championship - Established in 1991;note  it was defended on WWF programming until it was unified with the WWF Championship (established in 1963) to become the Undisputed WWF Championship on December 9, 2001.
  • WCW Cruiserweight Championship - "Cruiserweight" here means a weight limit of 225 lbs. It was defended in WWE until its retirement in 2008; it was supposed to be unified with WWF's Light Heavyweight Championship in November 2001 before then-Light Heavyweight Champion X-Pac got injured. WCW previously had the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship that only lasted about 10 months from 1991-92note , these titles do not share a lineage.
  • WCW United States Championship - Established in 1975 under Jim Crockett Promotions; is currently one of WWE's two mid-card titles.
  • WCW World Tag Team Championship - Defended on WWF programming, then unified with the WWF Tag Team Titles on November 18, 2001.
  • WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship - After WWF's purchase of WCW, it was one of two titles to be abandoned and never mentioned again on WWE programming. Understandable, as the first champions were crowned eight days before the buyout.
  • WCW Hardcore Championship - Much like the Cruiserweight Tag Team titles, after WCW closed, it was also abandoned and never defended on WWE.
  • For most of their lifespan WCW had the WCW Television Championship, which ranked below the United States Championship in the singles title hierarchy. This title dated back to 1976 and its primary purpose was to put a spotlight on up and coming talent; the list of former title holders reads like a wrestling hall of fame. As the name indicates it was defended on television much more regularly than the other titles. Like the belts mentioned above it took a serious hit to its prestige towards the end of WCW's life (the last title change was "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan winning it from a trash can. No, that's not a joke), and was quietly deactivated during WCW's "relaunch" in April of 2000. WWE rarely if ever acknowledges this title's existence.
  • WCW also formerly had the WCW United States Tag Team Championship, which carried over from the NWA as a secondary tag title and was deactivated in 1992, and the WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Championship, which was introduced in February 1991 and quietly abandoned that December.
  • WCW also had two Women's Championships, though they were rarely showcased on television and almost exclusively defended outside of the United States, mostly in Japan (just like in the WSL AWA); so most viewers just saw the Nitro Girls and nWo Girls, who were mostly there to dance for the crowd during the commercial break.

Tropes associated with WCW:

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  • Advertised Extra:
    • When Bret Hart jumped ship to WCW, he was still technically under contract with the WWF for a while, so they couldn't actually debut him. He also had a 90-day no-compete clause, so he couldn't really do anything other than talk, and be a special referee for Starrcade '97. And when he finally could wrestle, he was stuck in the United States title picture and as an nWo hanger-on (as opposed to his main event status in the WWF), not being pushed to the main event until a few months before his run ended.
    • At its height, WCW had over 240 wrestlers on their roster. Unlike most examples, though, only perhaps half of them were ever actually seen on television. This was a deliberate plan on WCW's part: buy up competing talent for the sole purpose of keeping them from signing with the competition. While some were given spots on WCW programming, others (many of them way past their prime) got to lay back and collect paychecks while "working" under a non-compete agreement. Unfortunately for WCW, even this plan got away from them. At the time, wrestlers were paid on a per-show basis, whether or not they actually worked on that show. Attendance was taken by signing your own name in on a clipboard. A fair number of workers, knowing full well that WCW didn't have any intention of actually using them, simply stayed at home and had friends of theirs on the roster sign in their names in their place. There were also many who would still travel in a full-time schedule on the company's dime without working any matches. Only in 2000 did they start to only fly out any talent who were actually regularly being booked.
  • All There in the Manual: Whenever you felt a WCW storyline needed some extra flavoring, the official magazine had your back. For instance, it sounds like Nick Patrick's life was miserable before the nWo showed up and offered him a hand.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: During the Monday Night Wars, there were numerous examples of this between WCW and WWF, with these most notable ones sticking out:
    • Goldberg to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Both were bald, goateed one-man armies who wore simple black trunks as wrestling gear, yet became immensely over with crowds due to their take-no-BS personalities and going against a large Heel Power Stable (the nWo and The Corporation). Bischoff was accused of hypocrisy after it was alleged he told Austin that men in basic black trunks could not get over with the crowd, only to push Goldberg for doing just that. The funny part is that Goldberg was intended to be a ripoff... of Ken Shamrock, hence all the MMA-like punching/kicking and the MMA-style gloves. Bischoff thought he could book a guy pretending to a UFC fighter better than Vince could book an actual UFC fighter.note  The fact that both Austin and Goldberg are bald white guys with a goatee was purely coincidence.
    • Sting to The Undertaker. Both became famous for goth-themed gimmicks while also having at one point a more grounded one ("Surfer" Sting and the "American Badass"/"Biker Taker"), both were mostly-silent, and both had such a large following (and were so faithful to their respective companies) that they were believed to embody the 'soul' of their promotions. Until Sting retired, a bout between the two was considered a dream match for a long timenote .
    • Scott Steiner to Triple H. Both began as the lesser member of a tag team/stable (the Steiner Brothers and D-Generation X) before reinventing themselves as muscled-up trash-talkers and having breakout solo runs that made them main eventers.
    • Buff Bagwell to Val Venis (and to an extent Shawn Michaels), all three being ladies' men (Bagwell and Michaels being a sort of "boy toys", as Michaels' theme proclaimed, while Venis had the gimmick of a wrestling pornstar). Ironically, Bagwell later became an escort in real life.
    • The nWo to D-Generation X. Both were industry-changing stables led by a then-world champion (Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels) who were all about disrespecting the established norms. Both also included members of The Kliq: Scott Hall and Kevin Nash in the nWo, Michaels and Triple H in DX, and Sean Waltman in both (as Syxx in the nWo and as X-Pac in DX). Michaels would later join the nWo's WWE incarnation, albeit in a non-wrestling capacity.
    • Three Count to Too Cool, in terms of being trios with a music-related gimmick (Too Cool being a hip hop crew, while Three Count were a boy band).
    • Tank Abbott to Ken Shamrock, both being MMA fighters who became famous on the very early days of the UFC before making the jump to wrestling.
    • Dennis Rodman to Mike Tyson, both being sportsmen and bonafide mainstream celebrities who participated in wrestling matches (albeit Tyson only did so as an outside enforcer). Both even associated themselves with the aforementioned alternate equivalents nWo and DX, respectivelynote .
    • Ric Flair to Jerry Lawler, in terms of being long-running territory wrestlers.
    • Tony Schiavone's banter with Bobby Heenan was a weak attempt at repeating the banter Heenan had with Gorilla Monsoon in the WWF.
    • Asya (Christi Wolf) to Chyna: large female bodybuilders who fought men. WCW weren't shy about it, even claiming that "Asia/Asya is bigger than China/Chyna".
    • Booker T to The Rock, being one of the first African-American top draws their respective promotions had in a long time (Booker T was in fact preceded by Ron Simmons, but by almost a decade), having snappy catch-phrases and even similar finishers, both variations of the side slam (Booker T had the Book End, a kneeling side slam, and The Rock had the Rock Bottom, a falling side slam). In fact, Booker T was told to change to be more like The Rock.
    • The hiring of Japanese wrestler Kaz Hayashi was an obvious response to WWF hiring TAKA Michinoku. Both had been in the same stable in Michinoku Pro Wrestling (Kaientai), wear blue/black tights, wrestle in a cruiserweight manner and looked similar. Also, both were signed to their respective companies in 1997, with TAKA being signed to WWF in July and Kaz being signed to WCW in October. Though he stayed with WCW until their buyout, Kaz's tenure there is nowhere near as well remembered as TAKA's time with WWF for two reasons: one is that TAKA had enjoyed early success winning the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship and the other is that Kaientai reformed in WWF (minus Kaz), becoming very popular in the Attitude Era when reduced to just TAKA and Sho Funakinote .
    • Vampiro has claimed that in 1998, he was in talks with the WWF but decided to go to WCW instead. As a result, the WWF created Gangrel as their own vampire character, along with the Power Stable known as The Brood (which consisted of the aforementioned Gangrel, Edge, and Christian). It didn't help matters that Vampiro only got a tryout match there at the WWF in 1998 before he properly started being used by WCW in 1999. The difference between the two of them however is that Gangrel was played far more straight as a vampire (even if the WWF didn't overly refer to him as a vampire, but rather as someone who "followed the gothic lifestyle") than Vampiro (whose gimmick was more of a punk rock star who liked vampires, even associating himself with The Misfits at one point).
  • Anti-Climactic Unmasking:
    • 1990's Black Scorpion. Said to be an associate of Sting from his past, he kept getting attacked before he could remove his mask. Ole Anderson, who voiced the Scorpion and came up with the initial concept, suffered a career-ending injury before his unmasking could occur. This forced a rewrite, and Ric Flair took his place for the unmasking. Many elements from the angle, such as setting the ring on fire, multiple Black Scorpions etc. were integrated into Sting during his Crow years.
    • 1993's Shockmaster, with the added "appeal" that the unmasking happened completely by accident. After weeks of build-up, Sting stood before a live audience at Clash of the Champions and announced the arrival of his new partner. The wall came crashing down, and out waddled a man who lost grip on his helmet, revealing... Fred Ottman (better known as the sailor-themed wrestler Tugboat and later Typhoon during his time in the WWF). He was wearing an Imperial Stormtrooper helmet, dipped in glitter, which makes it no wonder why he botched the entrance.note  Since that fateful day, the Shockmaster has kept a low profile.
    • In 1999, WCW forced Rey Mysterio Jr. to lose his mask in a bad match to end a feud. In lucha libre tradition, losing a mask is something which happens very rarely and it is a big deal, typically a culmination of a very long-running and bitter feud. And, once unmasked, the luchador is never supposed to wrestle masked again unless he wins the right to do so, typically by beating the guy who stole the mask. It also didn't help that Rey's masks were the best-selling masks in the WCW shop and that without it, Rey looked like he was about 13 years old. Luckily, Rey was able to convince Mexican wrestling authorities of his opposition to the match.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Diamond Dallas Page would travel quite the road from a non-wrestling manager to world champion and becoming the ultimate face of WCW.
    • In the Fall of 2000, a dark time in WCW history, former tag team specialists Booker T and Scott Steiner became the main eventers who were holding the company afloat.
  • B Show: Thunder, Worldwide, and Saturday Night. The latter was originally WCW's flagship program before Nitro launched. It was actually a decent B-show: they featured a lot of good midcarders like Steven Regal and tag teams like Harlem Heat, and a lot of the newer and younger talents. However, Nitro still referenced Saturday Night frequently. Storylines, debuts and even title changes did occur on that show. They also had a lot of appearances by future stars of the industry (all of the WCW videos with Triple H are from Saturday Nightnote ). Even the nWo would show up and have matches there now and again. If not for Saturdays at 6:05 Eastern/5:05 Central, there would never have been any Monday Night War. It's worth noting that WCW Worldwide '96 had a bunch of matches between future WWE Hall of Famers.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • The nWo ushered in an unprecedented boom period in pro wrestling attracting interest. The problem was that the nWo were built-up as an unstoppable force who just kept growing and growing to the point where fans and wrestlers felt like there was no hope.
    • When the Ultimate Warrior was brought to WCW (known as simply "The Warrior"), he was built up as a threat to Hollywood Hogan. Warrior got beaten all the time before being defeated by Hogan at Halloween Havoc 1998, even though Hogan was supposed to be super-scared of him.
    • After ruining Warrior v. Hogan and Sting v. Hogan, the only thing keeping WCW afloat was Goldberg's run in 1998. But even that managed to suffer an anti-climax of its own with the one-two punch of Goldberg's streak being broken by Kevin Nash at Starrcade 1998 (with help of Scott Hall and a cattle prod) and the Fingerpoke of Doom eight days later (see below).
  • Beach Episode: Bash at the Beach was a pay-per-view with a beach theme. Heck, it took place at an actual beach once!
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • If it weren't for the fact that it was the company's last show, Nitro's last episode, The Night of Champions, would've looked like the moment where things were going back on track for WCW: Booker T won the world title, and the show capped with a sparring match between Flair and Sting, two WCW oldies who had stuck with the promotion to the bitter end. Post-match, Sting and Flair embraced and shook hands; a genuine babyface ending.
    • Ironically, the man who unified the WCW and WWF titles was Chris Jericho, the first major WCW acquisition by Vince McMahon. He defeated both The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in the same night—in back-to-back matches, no less!—to unify the two titles.
  • Bowdlerise: Since WCW were strictly anti-blood at the time, the spot in the infamous match between Vader and Cactus Jack where Vader made Jack bleed had to be edited out of the match when it was broadcast. Mick Foley asked Vader pre-match make him bleed a bit for dramatic effect. When Mick called the spot in the turnbuckle, Vader drove the bottom of his fist down onto Mick's nose, shattering it and causing him to bleed profusely. The latter doesn't explain that in the DVD (Mick Foley's Greatest Hits and Misses), so it just looks like Vader dickishly broke his nose. It says something that Mick let Vader powerbomb him on the floor twice, but those punches are still among the worst ever seen in wrestling.
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • Glacier for Sub-Zero. Mortis also seemed to be a combination of Reptile and Scorpion, and Wrath's entrance attire was somewhat Shao Khan-inspired.
    • Dustin Rhodes briefly experimented with Seven, a Pinhead lookalike.
    • "Kwee Wee" (real name Allan Funk)note  had a gimmick of being a rogue fashion designer, which appears to be based on Chris Kattan's Mango character from Saturday Night Live.
    • Arachnaman was such a blatant Spider-Man ripoff that Marvel Comics threatened legal action, and the character was quickly abandoned.
    • Mike Awesome doing his "That 70s Guy" gimmick.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Four Horsemen, Lex Luger and the nWo were all subject to this. Especially when it involved Sting.
  • Continuity Reboot: In 2000, Time Warner started taking a more active role in booking. They vacated all of WCW's titles on the April 10, 2000 episode of Nitro as part of a "reboot", then split the company into two factions: the "New Blood" (up-and-comers) and the "Millionaires' Club" (the veterans). Unfortunately, this was perceived as a rehash of the nWo vs. WCW feud, and many fans never got it.
  • Clumsy Copyright Censorship: WCW matches in the WWE Network have the wrestlers' themes dubbed over if their original theme might be subject of copyright claims, such as DDP's theme "Self High Five", which is based on "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • The VHS release of Slamboree 2000 sports a big picture of Jeff Jarrett and DDP. David Arquette is not pictured or even mentioned on either side of the box.
    • New Blood Rising. Best thing about the title: The New Blood stable broke up before the PPV.
  • Crossover:
    • On the February 19, 1996 episode of Baywatch, fittingly and amusingly titled "Bash at the Beach", Hogan and Savage had joined forces and worked alongside with the Baywatch lifeguard crew in order to help save the Beachfront Boys' Club from evil condo developers Flair, Vader, and Kevin Sullivan.
    • On the February 2, 2001 episode of Charmed (1998), titled "Wrestling With Demons", Scott Steiner and Booker T were demons who had fought the Charmed Ones in a wrestling match for someone's soul. Oh, and Ron Perlman had also guest starred as the episode's main antagonist. It goes to show how over wrestling was back in The '90s, with two wrestlers from a dying company roping a major network into a cross-promotion. Near the end of the episode, the Charmed Ones had emerged victorious over their opponents, with Steiner and Booker GETTING PINNED BY THEM AND THEN SENT STRAIGHT TO HELL.
    • In the Arli$$ episode, "To Thine Own Self Be True", Eric Bischoff, Lex Luger, Randy Savage, and Rick Steiner made cameos after a hockey player tried to cross over into professional wrestling. In exchange, actor Robert Wuhl appeared in-character at Orlando to hype the wrestling debut of Dennis Rodman. This was only the umptenth weirdest thing that happened in WCW.
  • Crushing Handshake: Played with at Bash at the Beach '98. Stevie Ray faced Chavo Guerrero Jr., with the stipulation that if Chavo didn't win the match, he had to face Eddie Guerrero in a "loser gets their head shaved" match immediately following. Chavo, wanting to be fresh for the next match (and really wanting to get to Eddie after weeks of abuse at his hands) offers Stevie a pre-match handshake and immediately taps out once a shocked-looking Stevie takes his hand. Chavo would proceed to lose to Eddie and shave his own head, then try to shave Eddie's head while shrieking, "WE CAN BE TWINS, EDDIE!"
  • Cuckoolander Commentator:
    • There's a reason Botchamania used to have a dedicated segment called "Insane Dusty Commentary".
    • Mark Madden as the heel announcer. "Fatty-boom-batty", indeed.
    • When Scott Steiner was invited to be a guest announcer, he spent most of the time running down Hulk Hogan rather than calling the match.
      Scott Steiner: Hulk Hogan worrying about his "spot". Well, he can have his spot! His bald spot! His limp-gimp-to-the ring spot! His age spot!
    • WCW signed an exclusive contract with Michael Buffer to be their lead in-ring announcer. He made $100k per appearance just to call guys' names, and even then, he'd occasionally get them wrong (notable examples including "Bret 'The Hitman' Clarke", calling Hulk Hogan "the King of Hulkamania", and "...home of the NCAA Champions of the Universe!").
    • Steve "Mongo" McMichael, an ex-NFL star. He would bring his chihuahua to the announcer's table and dress him up in funny outfits. Steve wasn't so cuckoo, though: Even he asked at one point ask why they were putting Luger vs. Savage on free TV instead of PPV.
    • In late 2000, Thunder was the beneficiary of Stevie Ray calling people a "Fruit Booty".
      The Death of WCW: Later, he would call Scott Steiner both "synthetic" (seemingly an accusation of steroid use) and also a "sad, sack-ass fruit booty" (seemingly an accusation of...well, we have no idea).

  • Darker and Edgier:
    • The New World Order became a famous case of this, as it forced the competition to follow their lead. Gone were the colorful characters Hogan, Nash, and Hall played in WWF; now they were akin to a biker gang running roughshod over WCW. Sting was facing the same crossroad that Hulk Hogan did years earlier; the only problem was that Sting was the face of WCW, so a heel turn for him was out of the question. Instead, they started a different angle in which the paranoia surrounding the nWo broke Sting's spirit, and provided a reason to take him off TV for bit. They also took inspiration from The Crow (1994) movie and had Sting emulate that. The black & white theme was a tease, because some thought Sting was slowly turning heel—and WCW did tease his defection. However, Sting essentially became 'chaotic good', and sold a ton of merch.
    • They completely redesigned the set and the company logo in April '99. WCW never advertised or gave any indication that they were re-branding at all, just BAM! Nitro changed after that. The tone of the show became grey and industrial, far from the bright colors of the Crockett era, and the volcanic eruptions of the Bischoff era, yet very distinct from the grungy WWF presentation. (But for some reason, this coincided with Hulk Hogan being back in the red and yellow.)
  • A Day in the Limelight: Adding Luchadores and cruiserweights was very refreshing, and they got some of their first nationwide appearances on WCW. La Parka, Psicosis, Chris Jericho, Juventud Guerrera, Billy Kidman, Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Último Dragón, Jushin Thunder Liger, and Rey Mysterio Jr. were the cream of a very deep and talented pool of guys.
  • Denser and Wackier: Vince Russo wasn't the only foot on WCW's throat in the end, what with the million-dollar contracts being given out like candy on Halloween. But lest we forget all the pole matches, fifteen title changes in six months (nearly thirty in 2000), trying to revive the nWo with Jeff Jarrett and Bret Hart of all people, the complete annihilation of kayfabe, the infamous three-way with Nash, Steiner, and Goldberg (see below), and Judy Bagwell on a forklift. Russo started behind the 8-ball sure, but he also pocketed it with a bit of English.
  • Double X:
    • Max Pain, as he was billed in USWA, apparently wasn't edgy enough, because in WCW he became Maxx Payne!
    • Also, Sean Waltman (aka The 1-2-3 Kid) became Syxx in WCW.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: A few guys that became stars in WWE made their first appearances on WCW syndicated shows:
    • WCW somehow saw no value in a guy named Damon Striker. You probably (think) you know him as Edge.
    • Glenn Jacobs would go through several gimmicks, including a brief stint as Bruiser Mastino, before finally finding one that stuck in Kane.
    • WCW liked Owen Hart so much they not only let him use his real name, but gave him a perfect 5-0 win/loss record while he was negotiating a contract in 1991. He eventually elected to go with the WWF, where he'd remain until his death in 1999.note  Pay your respects by watching him squash some random job guy.
    • John Cena of all people is in Ready to Rumble, albeit for only about a second and a half and uncredited. Look for him in the scene with Goldberg in the gym. Or just watch this clip.
  • Evil Foreigner: Lance Storm was one of the most hated and cowardly heels in the company. His rulebook was a contributing factor: "Please rise for the Canadian National Anthem", holding the Saskatchewan Hardcore International Title, no foreign objects to be used in hardcore matches, converting the US Title into a Canadian one, re-naming the Cruiserweight Title the "100kg and Under Championship", etc. And then there was his "Canadian Rules" match vs. Mike Awesome. (It's common knowledge in Canadian wrestling that you need to pin your opponent for a 5 count, then give them a 10 count to answer the bell!)
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: After Hulk Hogan arrived to WCW in 1994, the company apparently looked to Hogan's past, as his tenure during his first two years before turning heel and founding the nWo featured some 80's-era Hulkamania Call-Backs such as:
    • Hogan and Savage's past history with each other in the WWF, leading them to not only reform the Mega Powers (and bringing back Miss Elizabeth as well in January 1996), but also to later break up and feud against one another once more (keep in mind that The Reveal of Hogan being The Outsiders' "third man" was done via Hogan attacking Savage).
    • Mr. T reunited with Hogan during the latter's '94 feud with Flair.
    • WCW tapped Brutus Beefcake, Roddy Piper, Ultimate Warrior, John Tenta, Sherri Martel, Kamala, and Zeus, all of whom had a history with Hogan in the WWF.
    • The Giant was initially portrayed as the son of André the Giant looking to avenge his father after his loss to Hogan at WrestleMania III.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: The Trope Namer. 1998 saw other decisions that accelerated the decline: At Starrcade '98, Nash defeated Goldberg after Goldberg was tazed by Scott Hall to claim the World Heavyweight Championship, which also ended his undefeated streak. Eight days later on Nitro, Nash and Hogan were scheduled to have a match for said title, but instead, Nash took a poke to the chest from Hogan and sold it like he'd been shot with a cannon, lying down on the mat. This incident came to be known as the Fingerpoke of Doom. Prior to the main event, Tony Schiavone (under orders from Eric Bischoff) revealed that fan-favorite Mick "Mankind" Foley would be winning the WWF Championship on a pre-taped edition of Raw, essentially inviting over half a million viewers to change the channel — which they did.
    Tony Schiavone: That's gonna put some butts in the seats, heh!
  • Garbage Wrestler:
    • The Sandman had a brief run in the Hardcore Division, as did David Flair. The Hardcore matches were a "love-it-or-hate-it" affair. Probably because no one backstage gave a damn, so the talent did what they wanted (kind of like the cruiserweights). Like when Norman Smiley came out dressed as an Ice Hockey goalie, or when Terry Funk got kicked by an actual horse in Boise, Idaho. And he no-sold it. Just another day for Terry Funk.
    • Blacktop Bully vs. Dustin Rhodes inside of an actual, moving truck at Uncensored 1995. They bladed as well, and this match got both wrestlers fired.
    • Bash at the Beach '99: The Junkyard Invitational, which had a bunch of luchadores (La Parka in street clothes!) getting suplexed and doing flips off of cars. It was such a clusterfuck, almost everyone ended up with some sort of injury.
    • Brian Knobbs teamed with someone called "The Dog" (a guy who actually behaved like a dog, wore a leash, and chewed on wrestling gear) as the Hardcore Soldiers, who were actually managed by Fit Finlay. The Dog was played by Al Green: he was one half of the Master Blasters with Kevin Nash, and was once involved in a worked shoot with Tank Abbott.
  • The Giant: The Giant (of course), Berlyn's former bodyguard The Wall (Get it? Berlyn's Wall?) a.k.a. Sgt. A.W.O.L. (Get it? "A Wall"?), and... Ice Train. The only cool thing about Ice Train was his theme.
  • Gimmick Matches:
    • WarGames. Two rings placed side-by-side and enclosed in a cage, with wrestlers battling inside, outside, and over the cage. There are no pinfalls for disqualifications until everyone is inside the cage, and then it's suddenly a one-fall match. Everything in-between is blatant filler, though there is psychology involved in trying to weaken an opponent during the match so that they'll submit once everybody is in. It's a festival of brutality, and it was a recipe for success in the early years. Some of the goofier aspects that are problematic for WarGames included the fact that it took it up a lot of floor space, the explanation of the rules (which took about 5 minutes), and the coin toss wherein one team gets the numbers advantage upon entry. Somehow in the entire history of WarGames no babyface team has ever won the coin toss, since it's more fun when the heels outnumber the faces. The Elimination Chamber match in WWE was designed as a spiritual successor, but nothing beats the original, to the point where Triple H finally unveiled the Match Beyond on NXT in 2017.
    • The Uncensored pay-per-view was built on these. The entire concept of these PPVs was that they would be "unsanctioned" shows where matches that couldn't be on any other show would take place. One of them was the Doomsday Cage. The idea is to climb through each cage to get to the belt at the top. It was a really cool visual to have steel cages stacked on top of each other, but 3 cages may have been one too many.
    • World War 3. What's better than a 20 man battle royal? Three of them at once! They actually did four of these before finally realizing that the buyrates stunk and giving up all that valuable floor space that should be filled with ticket buying fans was dumb.
    • Like AAA, they had a "Thundercage", which was a send-up of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.
    • Nothing says WCW like "on-a-pole" matches. They were to the 90s what scaffold matches were to the 80s. So many poles.
    • The "graveyard match" between Vampiro and "The Demon." The Demon was intended as the beginning of a KISS-themed stable, in which each member of the band would have their own self-insert wrestler.
    • David Flair proposed to Miss Hancock after she announced she was pregnant. Which led to the Wedding Dress match (really a bra and panties match) between him, Miss Hancock, and that goth chick Daffney. The kicker was when Crowbar hits the ring, discovers that everyone is lying on the mat (selling their injuries) in their underwear, he then smiles and proceeds to remove his own pants.
  • Gratuitous Disco Sequence: Disco Inferno and Alex Wright. Fittingly and amusingly, the two of them would later form an official tag team known as the Dancing Fools a.k.a. the Dancing Idiots and Boogie Knights. The Alex Wright dance from WCW/nWo Revenge is one of the most-memorable wrestling game taunt animations ever.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door:
    • Bret Hart for his entire WCW career; it's one of the reasons why he couldn't get over as well as he did in the WWF.
    • Lex Luger, 1998-99.
    • Ric Flair, non-stop.
    • Hogan turned face for good in 1999 (with Sting briefly turning heel) and The Outsiders reformed... but Bischoff was reinstated in 2000 and brought with him a new heel stable, of which Hogan was a member. Hogan was not happy about it, as he'd already gone back to his Hulkamania gimmick.
    • Everybody had this problem in the Vince Russo era. Not a surprise, since Russo has infamously said he doesn't believe in "heels" or "faces".
  • Intercontinuity Crossover:
    • Regarding its "farm leagues", such as the Heartland Wrestling Association, which one could say remained as a remnant of WCW after it went under.
    • WCW in 1994 had produced the AAA When Worlds Collide PPV, which helped introduce lucha to US audiences, and in late 1995/early 96, while planning the launch of their cruiserweight division, and needed talent to fill it. Konnan was big in Mexico, popular enough to get away with being called "The Mexican Hulk Hogan". But the real reason WCW originally signed him is that he was tight with other Mexican wrestlers. They also pulled talent from New Japan Pro-Wrestling due to Bischoff's relationship with Sonny Onoo, but a majority of the division was made up of luchadors.
    • Vince McMahon used to, and kind of still does, struggle with the idea of putting his belt on someone who was a champion in another promotion. Eric Bishoff, on the other hand, built Nitro on the backs of WWF World Champions (or just about any wrestler who became big in another promotion). Hogan became the world champ on his first match, the nWo came after that, and then ECW talent came over. Bischoff did not have a suspicious nature like Vince, and though it came back to bite him in the end, it helped WCW quite a bit. Their fortunes didn't really pick up until Hall and Nash defected to WCW and formed their own coalition: The Outsiders, who teased at a cross-promotional "invasion" (despite the WWF having nothing to do with the angle). People in the south hated Hall and Nash. The trash thrown at them was real, they were genuinely seen as invaders.
    • WCW was eventually sold to WWE in early 2001 (weeks before WrestleMania X-Seven) at what amounted to fire-sale prices, mere days before the final Monday Nitro. What was supposed to be a battle between WCW/ECW and the WWF ended up being a battle between the McMahon clan: The final show was a simulcast on Raw, with an appearance by Vince's son Shane on Nitro. WCW stuck around In Name Only, the kayfabe reasoning behind this was that Shane and Stephanie were the owners of WCW and ECW respectively, but still had some pull in the Federation (which is why they let these guys run roughshod over the WWF guys every week). The titles were unified with their WWF counterparts, culminating with the unification of the WCW and WWF Championships at Vengeance 2001 (the WWF Undisputed Championship). With both WCW and ECW (which had gone out of business just a couple of months prior) in their back pockets, WWE was left as the lone major professional wrestling promotion in the United States.
  • Invisible President: Men such as Jim Herd, Eric Bischoff, James J Dillon, and Vince Russo served as the de facto leaders and movers of WCW, but they all depended on Turner, and could be overruled by him. Jericho once tried to go over Dillon's head to get a shot at the Cruiserweight belt, and Turner would have done it too, based on Jericho's sound logic. But Chris was "such a crybaby" that Turner wrote back that he'd sided with his subordinate instead.
  • Jobber:
    • Saturday Night is remembered for the sheer volume of jobbers on display. Sgt. Craig "Pitbull" Pittman, the State Patrol, "Hardwork" Bobby Walker, Joe Gomez, Barry Darsow doing his golfer gimmick, Fidel Sierra, Mean Mike and Tough Tom, the masked Texas Hangmen, and the granddaddy of them all: The Gambler. (He was actually a good worker who never really got a chance. WrestleCrap published a whole feature on him.) They put on a show, even if it wasn't about them. That's because WCW was always generous to its workers. Many of those guys are still wrestling today.
    • Those jobbers you saw getting squashed on Saturday Night would often wrestle each other on shows like WCW Worldwide, WCW Pro, and WCW Main Event. You know you've worked your way pretty far down the wrestling ladder when both guys get the Jobber Entrance.note 
    • The nWo "B-Team" with Horace Hogan, Vincent (aka Virgil), and a few other jobbers of the squad. If someone from the nWo lost regularly, chances are it'd be one of them.
    • Goldberg was 174-0, and half of those matches were against poor Hugh Morrus, who was speared and jackhammered into hell.

  • Large-Ham Announcer:
    • Tony Schiavone became (in)famous for proclaiming several things to be "the greatest [X] in the history of our sport!", alongside other grandiose lines ("We've got athletes from all over the globe fighting for that prestigious opportunity, to prove themselves at the absolute highest platform of professional wrestling!"), and of course, "THE YETAAAAAAAYYYY!!!"
    • No matter the announcer, the WarGames match was/is always announced as "WAAARRGAMES."
  • Licensed Game: More than you might expect.
    • Nintendo Entertainment System: WCW Wrestling, which was based on the Japanese Super Star Pro Wrestling.
    • Game Boy: WCW The Main Event.
    • Super Nintendo Entertainment System: WCW SuperBrawl Wrestling.
    • PlayStation: WCW vs. the World, which features several Ersatz versions of NJPW wrestlers. Japanese-developed and distributed by THQ.
    • Nintendo 64: WCW vs. nWo: World Tour and its sequel, WCW/nWo Revenge (THQ again).
    • Multi-platform: Nitro (THQ), Mayhem, and Backstage Assault (Electronic Arts). THQ also released Thunder, which ran on the same engine as Nitro, but it was only ported to PSOne.
  • Lost in Translation: Vampiro was wildly popular in Mexico, with Hogan-levels of fame, to the point of doing ventures outside of wrestling such as movies and music. This was mostly credited to his promos in Spanish, but it didn't transfer. (Made all the more weird when you consider that, despite his name, he was actually Canadian, meaning that he was less over in his native tongue.) His in-ring work ethic, however, did. Vampiro didn't hit the big-time until he joined Lucha Underground; since then the guy has been the most over than any other time in his career.
  • Mascot: Wild Cat Willie! ("W.C.W." Get it?)
  • Military Rank Names:
    • Hugh Morrus went by "General Hugh G. Rection" for a while when he led the Misfits In Action (MIA). His cohorts were "Major Gunns", "Major Stash" (Van Hammer)note , "Lt. Loco" (Chavo Guerrero Jr.), "Corporal Cajun" (Lash LeRoux), and Sgt. A-WOL (The Wall).
    • The State Patrol, a jobber tag team, consisted of Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker and Lt. James Earl Wrightnote .
  • The Movie: Ready to Rumble, as much as fans would rather not acknowledge this.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: An almost literal example, albeit with no fish or ponds- the WCW ring was considerably smaller than the WWF one, which made the wrestlers look much larger than life when seen on cameranote .
  • Out of Focus:
    • The Cruiserweight Division gradually lost airtime to the older, established stars.
    • Sting hated Hogan and the Wolfpac was formed with the sole purpose of ruining Hogan's day. As soon as the nWo reconciled, Sting split.
    • After Goldberg lost the world title and his streak to Kevin Nash, who in turn dropped the world title to Hogan, he actually never bothered to get his revenge. He just let Hogan take his title and feud with Flair, while he fought Bam Bam Bigelow for no apparent reason.
    • Flair was absolutely buried when Bischoff took over WCW, to the point where Flair successfully sued TNT for defamation. He had previously helped install Bischoff as Vice-President and scouted Hulk Hogan (and later Randy Savage) on behalf of WCW, and what was his reward? a) Receiving a tenth of the pay Hogan did, b) Jobbing to both Hogan and Savage multiple times, and c) Being publicly disparaged about his age, drinking problem, or finances—especially since it wasn't building to any storyline. Flair was massively underpaid, as well. (Even less when you consider he was buying sea breezes for everyone every night.) He was also the biggest ratings draw WCW ever had, if Meltzer is to be believed.
  • Parts Unknown:
    • Various members of the Dungeon of Doom including "The Taskmaster" Kevin Sullivan, from "The Iron Gates of Fate" and The Zodiac (Brutus Beefcake), from "The Land of Yin and Yang".
    • Masked wrestler Blitzkrieg, who had a brief run in 1999, from "The Cosmos".
    • The Patriots (Firebreaker Chip and Todd Champion), from "WCW Special Forces".
    • The Yellow Dog (Brian Pillman under a mask), from "The Kennel Club".
  • Power Stable: The Four Horsemen (the Trope Maker), New World Order (and its various spinoffs), and the New Blood.
  • Produce Pelting: Nitro crowds seemed to love throwing concessions at the wrestlers and into the ring. It seemed like the end of every Nitro had the nWo standing ankle deep in trash that fans threw into the ring at them because of some rottenness. Go watch Bash at the Beach '96 when Hogan joined the nWo. It was even lampshaded by Hogan at said event:
    Hogan: As far as I'm concerned, all of this crap in the ring represents these fans out here!
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Sting found God in August of 1998. He reveals in his movie Sting: Moment of Truth that he confessed all of his sins (drugs, womanizing, etc.) to his wifenote . Bret Hart "injured" him at Halloween Havoc '98 as an excuse to write him off TV. He was given time off to deal with "personal issues" at home. Other than a few house show appearances in early '99, he didn't make his return until April of that year.
    • On Thanksgiving night 1998, Hogan announced his retirement on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In reality, Hogan and Bischoff came to the conclusion that he had been overexposed to the point of being ineffective. Ultimate Warrior was an earlier attempt to give Hogan a burst of life. But when the Halloween Havoc buyrate flopped, and Nitro continued to lose to Raw in the ratings (despite his repeated appearances), he left just soon enough so they could find his replacement: In this case, Kevin Nash. Hogan was in-and-out in '99 mostly due to injury and no creative direction.
    • Pillman was supposed to go work for ECW for a few months and get his "Loose Cannon" gimmick down to a science. Eric Bischoff expected to resign him. He did not consider the possibility that Pillman might want to go work with his best friends in the business (Austin, Dustin, Foley, and the Harts) in the WWF, the former three having left WCW because they hated the direction in which it was going in, not unlike Pillman himself.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell:
    • Scott Hall was arrested a number of times for drunk driving. It got so bad that his wife Dana wrote in to the office and pleaded with them do something, and something they did: WCW Creative made it part of his gimmick. Eric Bischoff did indeed come downstairs to talk man-to-man with Hall — in a promo, mind you — to which Hall replied by vomiting on him. He then disappeared from WCW programming. Later, after Flair went bananas, he was carted off to a mental hospital...where he bumped into Hall.
    • The first Nitro of 2000 took place in Charlotte, North Carolina. A new WCW Comissioner was to be announced. The plan was originally to have Flair as the new Commissioner; unfortunately he was still in legal dispute and buried in the desert (don't ask), so instead they announced Terry Funk. (Like most episodes taking place in Charlotte, Flair was booked to get beaten up in his hometown. Instead, Funk took the beating.)
    • Near the end, we got the Miss Hancock pregnancy angle. David Flair went on the warpath, challenging any wrestler he suspected of fathering the baby. According to rumor, Vince Russo had booked himself as the father. This would have been followed by David's father announcing that Hancock was the product of an affair he had some 20 years before, which would've made her and his son David half-siblings. The story was abandoned once Hancock turned out to have faked the whole pregnancy. She became Shawn Stasiak's valet for a brief feud with Bam Bam Bigelow, then vanished right before the promotion died.
  • Ratings Stunt:
    • In the promotion's early years as WCW, it was terribly mismanaged and written by people who had no idea what fans wanted to see, relying on stunts and gimmicks to capture the glamour of the WWF: such events included a live appearance by RoboCop (at a pay-per-view, no less), and the infamous Black Scorpion mystery.
    • Hogan selling an arm bar from Jay Leno. At least Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone made an ounce of sense since they were giant, professional athletes!
    • Chucky cutting a promo on Rick Steiner and making him look like a jabroni.
    • WCW had Kyle Petty (among others) driving their car for NASCAR.
    • WCW tried to capitalize on Mancow, a national radio DJ, and his popularity by having him "feud" with Jimmy Hart. Hogan and Hart did a spot on his radio show where Hart attacked Mancow, and this is what we get. What's interesting is at the end of this match it's clear that Mancow doesn't know the finish and Jimmy has to physically hold him on top of himself. Mancow had worked a short program in ECW the previous summer so this is technically another occurrence of WCW poaching talent from ECW.
    • Vampiro had musical guests like Insane Clown Posse and The Misfits to back him up. WCW also paid KISS one million dollars to play two songs, and as part of the agreement WCW had to make a KISS-themed wrestler, and that wrestler had to headline at least one PPV.
    • One episode of Thunder infamously had a live-action version of Ruber, the Big Bad of the fantasy animated movie Quest for Camelot as part of a string of promotional stunts Warner Bros. was doing to hype the movie.
    • The final straw for many fans was the crowning of actor David Arquette as World Heavyweight Champion. It had less to do with Arquette himself (though he was a star at the time) and more to do with his then-wife, Courteney Cox, who was one of the highest-paid women on TV via Friends. There is also the video packages they did with David after he won the title. There was one where Courteney is shouting at him, trying to beat (or shout) some sense into him, telling him to give up the title, and Kurt Russell randomly walks by. David explains to him that he's a pro wrestling champ, and Kurt just laughs at him.

  • Scenery Porn:
    • The first hour of every Nitro was seemingly spent on the freakin' pyro display. WCW even set off pyro in the middle of matches. (Chris Jericho's pyro failed to impress.)
    • Halloween Havoc with the giant pumpkin, Bash at the Beach with the beach setting, Road Wild at the motorcycle rally and so on. Even the announcers would be dressed up in appropriate attire to go with the themes. Especially when some of the props could be used to beat people up with. Audiences may never again see somebody beat a man with a rubber shark. In Spring Stampede, Macho Man hit someone with a wooden wagon wheel.
    • nWo Souled Out. The set is extraordinary, the production of the whole show is so outrageous. Love it or hate it, this is not a normal PPV. It was painfully obvious that Bischoff wanted to create a rock concert atmosphere for WCW, but it didn't click with everyone.
  • Sex Sells: Kevin Nash and Scott Hall vs. ... Porn Stars! Brought to you by the Russo-Ferrara Laugh Factory.
    WrestleCrap: The woman in question was the adult film actress Minka, owner of the world's second-largest pair of breast implants (WCW couldn't be #1 in anything at this point).
  • Sliding Scale of Realistic vs. Fantastic:
    • Usually the commentary desk is about plugs and selling products. Between Michael Buffer, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay, and "Mean" Gene Okerlund, they set a tone of importance for "our great sport". Buffer is known for his pomp and circumstance regal announcing. You had Tony selling the drama and wrestlers, Heenan with the history of the business (and jokes), Tenay with stats and data, and Mene Gene with his 'breaking news' interview style. They made the matches seem more real than they were. (The announcers would mention it if someone botched a move.)
    • All in all, before the abortion of 1999-2001, it can be said that WCW did an OK job of making the matches feel like competitive contests. (By then WWE had shied away from describing their show as a sport for a long time.) Their style also had a dose of 'reality' to it: rather than a variety show with wrestling, it was about presenting it as a sports competition, and the company promoting itself as prestigious. A place where wrestlers from all over the world fight to prove their worth, hence the international flavor.
    • The ring itself was smaller than the one WWE used, with a nice "sssssspring" sound which made the moves seem more devastating. This is something Steve Austin always brings up: due to the fact that it was smaller, the wrestlers looked bigger. For some reason, WWE has always insisted on using a bigger ring than every other promotion. (20ft x 20ft versus everybody else's 18 x 18.) As mentioned by Cornette and Austin among others, the thing which slows down WWE matches is that they use ropes, whereas everyone else uses thick wires covered in a rubber coating, and the metal ring ropes give so much more bounce; hence why if you watch an old WCW match, they seem a lot faster.
  • Spin-Off: Spring/summer 1989 was kind of a weird time where TBS made it a point to substitute "WCW" for "NWA" whenever possible, title belts excluded. By mid-'89, all the NWA branding and graphics were replaced with WCW. WCW's association with the NWA was dissolved in '91, which resulted in NWA's championship belt becoming the WCW equivalent (or the "Big Gold Belt", as it came to be known).
  • Squash Match: The abundance of squash matches on WWF programming led viewers to jump ship to WCW, which mostly showcased competitive matches. As an example of Tropes Are Tools, WCW did use squash matches to create its top draw, Goldberg.
  • Status Quo Is God:
    • This had always been present to some degree. The downfall of Jim Crockett Promotions was that there were no clean finishes, which ultimately fell on Dusty Rhodes' shoulders. Nobody wanted to job because of backstage politics and Rhodes found that screwjob finishes were the best way to keep everyone happy, but some fans felt robbed.
    • As WWE reinvented itself with a new darker and edgier image (lifted in part from ECW), WCW kept milking the nWo for all they were worth. The group was originally planned to dissolve after Starrcade '97, where WCW mainstay Sting defeated Hogan for the world title. Instead, the group split into factions: nWo "Hollywood", led by Hogan, and nWo "Wolfpac", led by Kevin Nash, who feuded with each other throughout 1998. The group reunified following the "Fingerpoke of Doom", before being split again and reshuffled into the Millionaires' Club and New Blood.
  • Take That!:
    • How many times has this killed an entire company? WCW might well be the first when they revealed that Mick Foley would win the WWF Championship, which caused over half a million fans to switch over to Raw.
    • Both companies had mostly-baseless lawsuits against one another, and for every sleazy business tactic by one side, you could counter with an equally sleazy tactic by the other. The week after Tony Schiavone warned viewers not to turn the channel to the competition because Foley was going to win their world heavyweight title, WWF mocked Goldberg by having Duane Gill impersonate him and lose to a woman. Now, let's rewind to October 1997, when Jim Cornette ripped the two most influential stars of pro wrestling's boom period, who helped transcend the genre into the mainstream (Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper), in addition to burying their cage match at Halloween Havoc (though in fairness no one liked that match), whilst putting over Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match at Bad Blood that same month. Point being, the inside barbs and jabs each company gave each other was a weekly occurrence.
  • Worked Shoot:
    • The first attempt at one of these came in 1993 in what would have been a WCW-Smoky Mountain Wrestling crossover angle, with SMW owner Jim Cornette "invading" WCW Saturday Night and cutting a worked shoot promo on then-booker (and on-camera authority figure) Bill Watts.note  Unfortunately for Cornette Watts was turfed just as the angle was about to start, and his replacement Eric Bischoff thought there was a little too much shoot in that worked shoot promo and heavily edited it, then completely killed the angle outside of one SMW tag title match on PPV. Cornette ended up doing the angle with the WWF instead, which also got him a side gig as Yokozuna's mouthpiece (he would also manage Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, and Big Van Vader) and later a spot on Vince's creative team after SMW folded in 1995.
    • Hogan and Bischoff were negotiating the details of the heel turn as late as the afternoon of the show. The plan was kept secret from most people. In the days before the show, most people in WCW strongly suspected it would be Hogan, but no one knew for sure. Scott Hall claims he didn't know until two hours before the match.
    • According to the Monday Night Wars documentary, during the conclusion of the episode of Nitro in which Nash and Hall wreaked havoc with baseball bats and then lawn-darted Rey Mysterio into a nearby trailer, residents in Orlando watching the events unfold on TV called the police to report a gang war, and as a result, the firetrucks and ambulances seen pulling up as the show closed were not scripted, but instead were real.
    • Flyin' Brian Pillman "quit" the company in the one of the most bizarre shoots ever. He pretended to be crazy, jumped the divider and left, and the wrestlers had to fill time somehow. (The sight of Arn Anderson hurrying to the ring in a dress shirt, shorts and hiking boots was awkward.) Kevin Sullivan was in on it with Pillman, they were the only ones that knew. This was arguably the first worked shoot; and it got over huge, making Pillman the biggest free agent in wrestling and drawing attention to the company. Sullivan and Pillman would call each other and talk about people going up to each one of them and calling the other an asshole, and hoping they'd kick the other's ass. Jericho even said he caught them one time during a 'crazy' episode, and in the middle of it Pillman winked at him.
    • Madusa took one look at the names attached to the new women's division and signed at once. She announced her arrival, dropped the WWF belt in the trash can, and never once held the women's title, which became a complete afterthought the second it was revived, and lasted only a few months anyway.
    • Starting in the late 90's, management did not allow announcers to view the pre-taped segments. The idea was that it would make their commentary "more spontaneous". As a result, they had no idea how to sell the angles that were taking place. One of the more notorious examples of this was when the nWo beat up Ric Flair in a field somewhere. He hitchhiked to the arena in a turnip truck. When Flair got back to the arena, dirty and clutching an axe handle, the commentators, having been briefed on none of this, decided he must have fallen asleep drunk.
    • When The Giant fell off a building at Halloween Havoc '95, they had a guest commentator who was only there because he knew about monster trucks. He thought a man had fallen to his death and the other announcers just let him believe it.
    • At one point, Nash and Goldberg had a feud based around Goldberg not wanting to follow the script and lose the match. There was also a "shoot interview" he did on Nitro, half in character, half not, where he talked about how uncomfortable he was playing a heel. In the middle of the match, Goldberg loses interest and just walks away. Russo comes out and yells at Goldberg to get back in, and Goldberg yells "FUCK YOU!" (Russo experimenting with the 'meta' premise had some moments, but overall came off awkward at best.)
    • Bischoff was constantly working the wrestlers. For instance, according to Sherri Martel, everyone assumed that Nancy Sullivan's affair with Chris Benoit was a work. Some of them even thought that WCW's bankruptcy was a work!
  • Wrestling Monster:
    • Vader was portrayed as an incredible monster heel in WCW; from Starrcade '92 (vs. Sting) to Starrcade '93 (vs. Flair), Vader did not take a clean loss. He also got big wins over Cactus Jack, Sting, Ricky Steamboat, and Davey Boy Smith.
    • Raven, along with The Flock, was a hated heel and a popular face. He was an upper-midcard staple with the US Title for a long time, and arguably also the making of Goldberg. Raven also had a fun, weird, and stupid run with Perry Saturn, Vampiro, and the ICP. But his "Raven's Rules" gimmick was by far the most memorable part of his WCW stint: Just stating any match I'm in is no DQ, no countout made him a real threat.
    • Goldberg, who later became a face by default. They took a no-name green wrestler with no promo skills and turned him into an unbeatable colossus. He probably spoke no more than 10 words in his first year, and they made him a superstar.
    • Bam Bam Bigelow, who had a history of being loyal to NJPW up to this point, was a different type of 'enforcer'. A straight-up brawler with head tattoos who made his debut by calling out Goldberg, and even got the drop on Raven once.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: They kept coming up with entirely new and inventive ways to screw guys like Benoit and Jericho over.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): World Championship Wrestling


Hogan vs Nash

Hulk Hogan pokes Kevin Nash in the chest, causing him to go down for the count.

According to Kevin Nash, it was like getting hit in the chest with a cannonball.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / FingerPokeOfDoom

Media sources: